A Smile is Worth a Thousand Words

A baby’s “firsts” are never forgotten.

First word. First crawl. Even first burp. But what about their first smile?

The U.K.’s Daily Mail reported last week that Louise and Sam Henry of Swallowfield, Berkshire were able to capture their 17-week-old fetus smiling in the womb (see picture)! However, more importantly than capturing this monumental moment, this picture illustrates a fetus’s ability to express human emotion. As Britain’s Daily Mail stated this “implies that a baby can experience feelings such as happiness and pain much earlier in its development than previously thought.”

This statement challenges a common pro-choice claim that the “early fetuses cannot feel pain, and that no pain experience is even possible before 20 weeks gestation.” Based off of this, they claim that an early fetus cannot feel the pain of an abortion. But if this 17-week-old fetus can express happiness, why can’t it express pain?

Although there is debate on whether this unborn baby’s smile shows that a 17-week-old fetus has feelings, it is clear that what pro-choice advocates claim is “not a human” certainly displays many human behaviors. So if it looks like a human? Acts like a human? And Smiles like a human? Then, it probably is a human.